Build a stronger chest, shoulders, back and arms with this complete upper body workout featuring Primeval Labs athlete Stephanie Sanzo.
Having a strong upper body is essential to everyday living. Putting groceries away in cabinets, opening doors, and picking up things off the floor (like children or toys) all involve pushing and pulling, and they’re also actions we perform multiple times per day.
Upper body strength is also critical to building total body strength as the upper back and shoulders play a key role in both the squat and deadlift. And, it doesn’t hurt that the upper body is quite often the “show muscles” most people look at when judging a person’s physique.
Simply put, you want a strong, powerful upper body.
Follow along with Stephanie as she leads you through her complete upper body workout featuring a strong emphasis on building powerful shoulders and back muscles.
Stephanie Sanzo's Strong Upper Body Workout
Seated Pin Presses: 5 sets, 3-5 reps
Chin-ups: 5 sets, 3-5 reps
Superset Seated Arnold Press: 4 sets, 6-8 reps Neutral Grip Lat Pulldowns: 4 sets, 6-8 reps
Pin presses are great for really taxing the deltoids, overload the top half of the overhead barbell press exercise, and work on any weak (or “sticking”) points you may encounter during the lockout.
Depending on which portion of the lift you struggle with the most, you can adjust the height of the pins to accommodate your goals. This could be anywhere from forehead level to just above shoulder level.
Additionally, by stopping at the bottom, you eliminate momentum in the lift and force the shoulders to work that much harder to perform the press.
When it comes to upper body mass builders, there’s no better exercise than chin ups. It works all muscles of the upper back with a strong emphasis on the lats. And, if you’re one of those lifters who’s looking to pack on some serious width and achieve the vaunted V-tape, chin-ups should be a staple compound exercise in your training program.
Stephanie likes to perform this early in her workout as one of her primary strength-building movements (along with the seated pin press).
If you’re able to rep out multiple sets of chin ups and are afraid it can no longer be a useful exercise for building strength, think again.
Simply strap on a weight belt and hang some weight plates from your waist to lower your reps and make the chin up a primetime strength building exercise once again.
While classic seated pulldowns get all the attention for increasing back width and helping develop the lats, the straight-arm pulldown is an equally important exercise for training the muscles of the upper back, building the V-taper, and improving shoulder health and stability.
Moreover, the straight-arm pulldown is also ideal for lifters who have difficulty feeling their lats working on traditional pulldown exercises or chin ups. And, by performing the pulldown with straight arms, you also limit the involvement of the mid-back and biceps, further emphasizing the role the lats play in performing the exercise.
Additionally, if you’re someone who loves to perform heavy deadlifts, then you’re absolutely going to want to make sure to perform this highly underrated back exercise. The reason for this is that the straight arm pushdown helps to train the function of the lats for a deadlift and strengthens them in the same way in which they’re used during deadlifts (keeping the bar tight to the body).
Finally, as if you didn’t have enough reasons to train the straight-arm pulldown, consider this -- it also trains the teres major as well as the posterior deltoid, which is a good thing as it helps increase back width and give your shoulders the “3D” look.
Stephanie Sanzo Upper Body Supplement Stack
Mega Pre Red
When you’re headed into an intense training session and need a serious boost in energy, focus, and motivation, you need Mega Pre Red.
Mega Pre Red is a high-stimulant pump pre workout supplement supplying a hefty 400mg dose of caffeine. But that’s not all, each serving of Mega Pre Black also supplies focus-boosting nootropics in the form of two forms of choline and huperzine.
To support greater performance, blood flow, and muscle pumps, Mega Pre Red includes high doses of L-Citrulline, Betaine, and Beta-Alanine to help you push harder and last longer.
Intracell 7 Black
If there was one and only one, supplement Stephanie could use until the end of her training days, it would be Intracell 7 Black.
Intracell 7 Black offers complete intra workout training fuel for hardcore trainees. Each serving of Intracell 7 Black is packed with fast-digesting carbohydrates and essential amino acids that support the increased energy demands of intense resistance training. Also included are essential electrolytes, blood flow enhancers, and hydration support agents to yield a full spectrum intra workout supplement that supports greater athletic performance.